Singapore Armed Forces and other S.League teams will have to more than double attendances to gain entry to the ACL (All photos Getty Images)

(WFI) The Asian Football Confederation will kick Singapore clubs out of future Asian Champions League competitions unless attendances dramatically increase in their domestic league.

Under the AFC’s new entry criteria, only teams from leagues with average attendances of over 5,000 per match will be allowed to participate in the Asia’s biggest club competition from 2012. Participating leagues must also have a system of promotion and relegation.

The 12-club S.League currently fulfils neither of these criteria.

But league chiefs say they are confident of boosting attendances to reach the target – even though they are getting average crowds below 2,000 this year.

“We’ve met the majority of the list of criteria set by AFC and we are confident of meeting most, if not all, of the latest list of criteria,” a spokesman for the Football Association of Singapore told Reuters.

“Singapore football and the S.League is constantly improving on and off the pitch in terms of the business models, management, marketing and technical standards among other areas.”

S.League champions Singapore Armed Forces must get through two qualifying rounds to reach the group stages of the ACL next year.

Last month, South Korea’s Pohang Steelers beat Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad 2-1 in the AFC Champions League final in Tokyo.

Spanish FA reveals World Cup preparations
Spain, the European champions and one of the favourites to win the World Cup, will warm up for the tournament with three international friendlies in May and June.

The Spanish football federation (RFEF) announced the schedule Tuesday, confirming that two matches would be played at home, on May 29 and June 8, and an away game on June 5. Their opponents are not yet confirmed.

The RFEF also confirmed that the team would be based in the town of Potchefstroom about 120km from Johannesburg during the tournament.

The No.1 ranked team in the world should progress easily from Group H, which includes Chile, Honduras and Switzerland.

Japan face busy build-up for SA 2010
The Japan Football Association is scheduling 11 games in the build-up to the 2010 World Cup to prepare them for tough matches in Group E against the Netherlands, Cameroon and Denmark. Japan take on China, Hong Kong and South Korea at home in February’s East Asian championships.

The JFA is planning friendlies on Feb. 2, April 7 and May 24 and another three dates before the June 11 to July 11 World Cup.

‘Busby Babe’ Scanlon dies
Albert Scanlon, part of the Manchester United team dubbed the ‘Busby Babes’ and one of those who survived the 1958 Munich air disaster, has died aged 74.

Scanlon made his debut for United in 1954 aged 19. Four years later, eight of his team-mates and three officials were killed in a plane crash at Munich airport following a European Cup match. Scanlon suffered a broken leg and fractured skull in the crash. Scanlon left United in 1960 after clocking up 127 senior appearances and scoring 35 goals.

Written by Mark Bisson ([email protected])
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